Read an Excerpt
Prince And Future ... Dad?
By Christine Rimmer
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePrincess Liv Thorson woke nose to nose with a sheep.
Karavik, Liv thought woozily. The Gullandrian sheep are called karavik....
Since she'd arrived in her father's country six days before, Liv had trotted along obediently on several highly informational tours. As a result, she'd seen a large number of karavik - always from a distance, though.
The karavik, up close and very personal, said what any regular American sheep might say: "Baaaa." Its nose was damp.
"Yuck." Liv jerked away. Her naked back met another naked back. Her bare foot brushed a hairy leg.
She frowned. For the moment, she decided, she wouldn't think about that other naked back. Or that hairy leg.
The sheep, spooked, had already turned to trot off. It had a fat, fuzzy tail. Liv stared at that tail until the morning mist and the thick green trees enveloped it.
Her mouth tasted foul. She was lying on her left side on a bed of cool, damp grass. The idea of sitting up - of so much as lifting her pounding head - made her already queasy stomach roll. She shivered. The small clearing where she lay was protected somewhat by the thick circle of surrounding trees. Still it was chilly. Especially since she wasn't wearing any clothes.
She ought to get dressed.
But to do that, she would have to move, to sit up.
Uh-uh. Sitting up went in the not right this minute category.
Squinting through the lushly green blades of grass in front of her face, Liv pondered the question of how she'd gotten herself into this mess.
It had all started last night. Beyond being Midsummer's Eve - a major event in the island state of Gullandria - last night was the night her sister Elli married Hauk Wyborn.
Liv licked her dry lips and wished that little man inside her head with the hammer would give up and get lost.
But back to last night.
Back to Elli and Hauk.
Liv wasn't sure she approved of the marriage. Yes, it was true they adored each other, Elli and Hauk. But what did they have in common, really - a kindergarten teacher from Sacramento and a huge, be-muscled Gullandrian warrior?
Liv brushed impatiently at a blade of grass that was tickling her nose. Those Gullandrians. They didn't fool her. The tour guides loved to point at the spires of the local churches and call themselves Lutherans, but everyone knew better. Okay, it had been eight or nine hundred years since the last Gullandrian raider had kissed the wife goodbye and set off in his swift, sleek Viking ship to do a little raping and pillaging along the coasts of England and France. But every Gullandrian knew the Norse myths. They lived by them, really. They were Vikings at heart.
And on Midsummer's Eve, they threw one hell of a par-tay.
Liv groaned softly.
Actually, much of last night was a blur. There had been a lot of that tasty, slightly sweet Gullandrian ale, hadn't there? She really shouldn't have drunk quite so much of it.
Laughter. And lots of raw jokes at the bedding of the bridal pair.
Hauk had gotten fed up with them - all the young, unmarried men and women - and ordered them out. So Liv and the rest of them had raced down the back stairs and through the gardens and out to the open parkland where, in honor of the occasion, Liv's father, the king, had ordered a Viking ship set ablaze.
She had danced, hadn't she?
Oh, yes, she had. Danced drunkenly right along with everyone else, laughing and singing as she pranced around the ship's blazing hull.
But after that, well, it all got pretty fuzzy.
She was shivering steadily now. She wrapped her arms around herself in a futile attempt to warm up a little.
Seven or eight feet away - maybe halfway to the trees - she could see a swatch of midnightblue silk. Her bra. Past the bra, nearer the trees, lay the long, glimmery peacock-blue skirt of the terrific two-piece crushed velvet dress she'd been wearing. Where were the rest of her clothes?
Oh, really. How could she have allowed herself to get so out of control? What could have gotten into her?
Beyond too much ale, the answer to that one lay behind her. Carefully, still shivering, stifling a groan at the way her head pounded and her stomach rebelled, she rolled over.
And there he was: Prince Finn Danelaw.
Oh, God. She did remember.
She'd kissed him in the shadows of the trees. And he had led her here, to this lovely, cozy private spot. The grass had shone golden in the faint endless twilight of Gullandrian Midsummer's Eve. He'd undressed her and she'd undressed him and ...
Liv turned back to her other side, dropped to the grass again, closed her eyes and stifled a long, self-pitying moan.
This was so not her. She was a second-year law student at Stanford, top of her class. Hardheaded and take-charge and always a model of self-control.
A princess? Well, all right, yes. By birth. But not by inclination. At heart, in her soul, Liv Thorson was American. Capital A. And she had plans for herself. Big ones.
By the age of forty, she'd be a senator, at least. Or maybe she'd end up taking a seat on the Supreme Court. She could never be president because she hadn't been born in the U.S.A. But nobody ever got anywhere by not thinking big. Her prospects were better than most.
Which was why her current situation was so ... disappointing.
A woman who dreamed of being on the Supreme Court one day did not have sex in fields. She did not have sex with men she'd known for less than a week. And she certainly did not have sex with men like Finn, who was charming, heartbreaker handsome and nothing short of legendary when it came to his exploits with women.
Slowly, carefully, ignoring her roiling stomach and her spinning head, Liv propped herself up on her forearms and looked at him again.
He was turned away from her, his beautiful, leanly muscled back curved to a bow, his hard, long legs drawn up against the morning chill. He remained - as far as she could tell - sound asleep. His hair, rich brown shot here and there with hints of gold, curled a little at his nape.
Excerpted from Prince And Future ... Dad? by Christine Rimmer Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.